Books and General

When the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was formed in 2002, the U.S. Secret Service was moved from the Treasury Department to DHS.

Brzezinski, Matthew. Fortress America: On the Front Lines of Homeland Security, an Inside Look at the Coming Surveillance State. New York: Bantam Books, 2004.

Chertoff, Michael. Homeland Security: Assessing the First Five Years. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009.

Alden, Washington Post, 18 Oct. 2009, finds that Chertoff's book "is smart, coherent and disciplined, much like the successful reorganization he oversaw at the agency.... [I]t is a collection of essays written for policy journals." Chertoff "focuses almost solely on U.S. vulnerabilities" and "argues for powers even greater than the nearly unlimited ones the government already has to jail and deport illegal immigrants suspected of having terrorist ties." For Aboul-Enein, NIPQ 26.2 (Jun. 2010), this work is "highly recommended," because "it provides a cabinet level view of what the threats are and how to balance this with our own vakues as a nation."

Committee on Science and Technology for Countering Terrorism. National Research Council. Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2002.

Mazzafro, I&NS 19.1, finds that this work "is impressive for its scope and insight, but is also short on specific scientific recommendations and reads like an almanac." Although it is "now dated and [is] somewhat difficult to read because of style and length," the book does provide "a systemic way of looking at the enormity of the challenges associated with protecting the US from the multitude of terrorist threats."

Cordesman, Anthony H. 

1. Cyber-threats, Information Warfare, and Critical Infrastructure Protection:  Defending the U.S. Homeland.  Westport, CT: Praeger, 2002. 

2. Strategic Threats and National Missile Defenses: Defending the U.S. Homeland. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2002.

CSIS Task Force on Homeland Security. Meeting the Challenges of Establishing a New Department of Homeland Security: A CSIS White Paper. Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2002. Available at:

From "Preface": "We firmly believe that it is in the interest of all Americans for the creation of a new Department of Homeland Security to succeed. America remains vulnerable to catastrophic terrorism. Too many of the security procedures instituted since September 11, 2001 have provided too little security – often because of the lack of a central, coordinated framework for efficient government action. The President's proposal has the promise to improve this situation enormously. But in our view, important issues must be clarified and resolved if the initiative is to realize its full potential and America is to become more secure. We also believe the plan is missing some key pieces that need to be addressed."

Ervin, Clark Kent. Open Target: Where America is Vulnerable to Attack. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

Peake, Studies 50.4 (2006) and Intelligencer 15.2 (Fall-Winter 2006-2007), finds that the author, a former DHS inspector general, has produced a "frustrating, even frightening, but important book." Ervin surveys "every facet of homeland security" and concludes that "[w]hile some progress has been made, albeit wastefully, and it is harder for terrorists to attack now than it was five years ago,... it is still much easier than it should be."

Forest, James J.F., ed. Homeland Security: Protecting America's Targets. 3 vols. Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2006.

Vol. 1: Protecting America's Borders and Points of Entry

Vol 2: Protecting America's Public Spaces and Social Institutions

Vol 3: Protecting America's Critical Infrastructure

Keiser, Proceedings (Dec. 2006), notes that this is an "extensive collection of articles and essays on homeland security." The author "has assembled a well-informed catalogue of views that deserves widespread circulation."

Heritage Foundation. Homeland Security Task Force. Defending the American Homeland. Washington, DC: Heritage Foundation, 2002. []

Task Force chaired by L. Paul Bremer, III, and Edwin Meese, III.

Hulnick, Arthur S. Keeping Us Safe: Secret Intelligence and Homeland Security. Westport, CT: Praeger Greenwood, 2004.

According to Peake, Studies 49.2 (2005), the focus here "is on assessing the role of intelligence in domestic security." The author "does not suggest that the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the solution to the problems identified, but he concludes that whatever its role, it will require an intelligence element." Hulnick's "is not ... a detailed, case-oriented treatment. Problems are identified, but only the nature of solutions are suggested." The work "is more a primer on the intelligence process that the author thinks should be applied to homeland security problems."

Marrin, IJI&C 18.3 (Fall 2005), finds the strength of this work in "its breadth rather than [its] depth, [as] very little in th[e] book is new." However, "it is a splendid introductory text for the general reader." For Jeffreys-Jones, I&NS 20.2 (Jun. 2005), this book "is a useful primer for those interested in the field.... But the book is more than a repository of useful facts. It is a treasury of wise and sensible remarks."

Kessler, Ronald. In the President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect. New York: Crown, 2009.

Bamford, Washington Post, 23 Aug. 2009, says that rather than using a wealth of information from scores of current and former agents "to write a serious book examining the inner workings of the long-veiled agency..., the author simply milked the agents for the juiciest gossip he could get and mixed it with a rambling list of their complaints.... [I]t is all boring and familiar," and the book is filled with "inane and endless anecdotes."

Kettl, Donald F., ed. The Department of Homeland Security's First Year: A Report Card. New York: Century Foundation, 2004.

Maxwell, Bruce. Homeland Security: A Documentary History. Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2004.

From advertisement: "Beginning with a discussion of the concept and definition of 'homeland security,' this volume integrates more than 140 documents to trace the history, issues, and impact of homeland security concerns."

Melanson, Philip H. The Secret Service: The Hidden History of an Enigmatic Agency. New York: Carroll and Graf, 2002. Rev. ed. 2005. [pb]

From publisher on 2005 packback edition: "This new edition of the definitive history of the Secret Service lays bare the 2004 Bush campaign's political uses of the agency and the new challenges it faces as a branch of the Homeland Security Department, in a post-9/11 world..... Melanson explores the long-hidden workings of the Secret Service since its inception in 1865 and through rigorous research and extensive interviews with former White House staffers and retired agents, uncovers startling facts about the Agency's role in such traumatic national events as the assassination of JFK and the shooting of President Reagan."

Nicholson, William C., ed. Homeland Security Law and Policy. Springfield, IL: C.C. Thomas, 2005.

O'Leary, Margaret R. The Dictionary of Homeland Security and Defense: Words and Terms in Common Usage. New York: iUniverse, 2006.

Ridge, Tom, with Lary Bloom. The Test of Our Times: America Under Siege . . . and How We Can Be Safe Again. New York: Thomas Dunne/St. Martin's, 2009.

Alden, Washington Post, 18 Oct. 2009, says that Ridge's book "is much like his tenure as secretary [of Homeland Security]: folksy, deferential, unfortunately error-prone and yet, on the biggest questions of the post 9/11 years, rather sensible." In his tenure, Ridge "came to a balanced view in which he understood the serious threat from Islamic extremism but also recognized the high costs of overreacting."

Ritz, Michael W., Ralph G. Hensley, Jr., and James C. Whitmire, eds. The Homeland Security Papers: Stemming the Tide of Terror. Maxwell AFB, AL: Air War College, Feb. 2004. Available at :

This is an edited work with 12 different authors writing on a range on homeland security topics. Most of the 10 chapters are available in PDF format.

Sauter, Mark A., and James Jay Carafano. Homeland Security: A Complete Guide to Understanding, Preventing, and Surviving Terrorism. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2005.

The publisher says this "[t]his indispensable reference ... covers the basics of homeland security such as: national strategies and principles; federal, state and local roles; terrorist history and tactics; cyber-terrorism; business preparedness; critical infrastructure protection; weapons of mass destruction; and key policy issues. Perfect for academic and training classrooms."

Smith, Norris, and Lynn Messina, eds. Homeland Security. New York: H.W. Wilson, 2004.

White, Jonathan. Defending the Homeland: Domestic Intelligence, Law Enforcement and Security. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2004.

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